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Vintage Photos of the State of the Nation Address Throughout History

A look back at the SONA by the Presidents of the Philippines.
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Since the first official State of the Nation Address (SONA) during the Commonwealth Era, the annual speech given by the President of the Philippines has informed the country about its present economic, political, and social condition. Below, take a look back at the SONAS of the Presidents of the Philippines and their memorable addresses and notable attendees.

1937: President Manuel L. Quezon

President Quezon's 3rd SONA

In his third SONA, Quezon notably said, "Here, in the just and equitable solution of social problems, is the real test of the sufficiency of democracy to meet present-day conditions of society."

1937: President Manuel L. Quezon

President Quezon's 3rd SONA

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He continued, "Gentlemen of the National Assembly: The time to act is now. Deeds and not words is what our people want. We dare not disappoint them."

1937: President Manuel L. Quezon

US Asiatic Fleet commander Yarnell, Chief Justice Ramon Avanceña, Ambassador MacMurray listen to the Third State of the Nation Address of President Manuel L. Quezon

U.S. Asiatic Fleet commander Harry E. Yarnell, chief justice Ramon Avanceña, and ambassador John Van Antwerp MacMurray at the third SONA of President Quezon.

1937: President Manuel L. Quezon

First Lady and other official spouses listen to the Third State of the Nation Address of President Manuel L. Quezon

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First lady Aurora Quezon seated with Mrs. Paul V. McNutt, Miss Louise McNutt, and Mrs. Harry Hawes.

1945: President Sergio Osmeña

President Osmeña's SONA

"Let us get together in one mighty effort. Let us set aside selfish considerations and forget petty differences. Only in unity can there be strength. To the experienced, I turn for advice. From the youth of the land, I ask for its enthusiasm and energies. My faith in our people is unbounded. Over the ruins of our cities and barrios we shall build anew. In this most crucial hour of our history, I look forward to our destiny unafraid, confident that, God willing, ours will be a happy, progressive, and prosperous land," Osmeña said in his speech.

1946: President Manuel Roxas

First State of the Nation Address of President Manuel Roxas

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President Manuel Roxas with senate president Jose Avelino and speaker Eugenio Perez at his SONA in the temporary Congress building on Lepanto Street, Manila.

1946: President Manuel Roxas

President Manuel Roxas' First SONA

"I have a profound conviction that constitutional government in all the subtle meanings of the phrase is the only type of government which can safeguard the rights of the people even against the abuses of the Government itself. Constitutions may be perfected but the fabric of government once tom by disrespect for the basic law of the land can be repaired only with the greatest difficulty," Roxas said in his speech.

1947: President Manuel Roxas

President Roxas's 2nd SONA

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President Roxas and first lady Trinidad de Leon Roxas during his second SONA.

1949: President Elpidio Quirino

President Quirino's First SONA

President Quirino addresses the nation on January 24, 1949. He spoke about the issuance of an amnesty proclamation.

1950: President Elpidio Quirino

President Quirino's 2nd SONA

President Quirino delivered his second SONA from his hospital bed in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A, where he underwent surgery for bleeding ulcers. It was the only SONA delivered via radio broadcast to congress.

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1953: President Elpidio Quirino

Many Manila matrons forsook social activities to attend the fourth joining session of the Second Congress in the Session Hall of the House of Representatives.

Mrs. Victoria Quirino Gonzalez, Mrs. Consuelo Salazar Perez, Mrs. Raul Leuterio, Mrs. Diosdado Macapagal, Mrs. Esteban Abada, and Mrs. Francisco Delgado attend the fourth joining session of the second congress in the Session Hall of the House of Representatives.

1954: President Ramon Magsaysay

President Magsaysay's First SONA

"We must, therefore, move to strengthen our defenses. It is clearly in the national interest that we meet with the representatives of the United States Government to settle pending legal questions so that the bases we have granted to that country can be immediately developed and fully activated. Internally, the absence of major armed conflicts in dissident areas does not necessarily mean that the Huks have ceased to be a threat. They are still trying to undermine the Government, not with as much open defiance as before, but slyly and secretly," Magsaysay said in his speech.

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1958: President Carlos P. Garcia

President Garcia's first SONA

For his first SONA, President Garcia discussed the expansion of the Philippines' consular and diplomatic facilities and services abroad. He said, "We have raised our legations in Karachi, Pakistan; New Delhi, India; Seoul, Korea; and Saigon, South Vietnam, to the status of the embassies. We have also opened honorary consulates in 13 key trade centers of the world. Our participation in the United Nations, the SEATO, and other world and regional conferences have raised our international stature and prestige."

1958: President Carlos P. Garcia

President Garcia's 1st SONA

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Members of the cabinet and the congress attend the first SONA of President Garcia.

1962: President Diosdado Macapagal

President Macapagal's 1st SONA

"Further growth in the Philippine economy will thus involve larger average investments than in the past. The country will need to rely to a larger extent on external resources from foreign aid, institutional loans, and foreign investment," Diosdado said in his speech.

1964: President Diosdado Macapagal

President Macapagal's 3rd SONA

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President Macapagal, with then-senate president Ferdinand Marcos (seated behind him), delivers his third SONA.

1964: President Diosdado Macapagal

Ladies Gallery during President Macapagal's 3rd SONA. From left: Mrs. Estanislao Fernandez, Mrs. Constancia Tolentono, Mrs. Ferdinand Marcos, First Lday Evangelina Macapagal and Mrs. Cornelio Villareal.

Mrs. Estanislao Fernandez, Mrs. Constancia Tolentono, Mrs. Ferdinand Marcos, First Lday Evangelina Macapagal and Mrs. Cornelio Villareal.

1966: President Ferdinand Marcos

Ferdinand Marcos' First SONA

The first SONA of President Ferdinand Marcos.

1970: President Ferdinand Marcos

President Marcos' 5th State of the Nation Address

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During President Marcos' fifth SONA, held on January 26, 1970, protestors and activists camped outside the Legislative Building.

1974: President Ferdinand Marcos

Screenshot of President Marcos' Report to the Nation two years after the proclamation of Martial Law.

On September 21, 1974, President Marcos delivered his ninth SONA, two years after the proclamation of Martial Law.

1987: President Corazon Aquino

President Corazon C. Aquino's 1st SONA

President Aquino with speaker Ramon V. Mitra and senate president Jovito Salonga.

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1988: President Corazon Aquino

President Corazon Aquino's 2nd SONA

In her second SONA, President Aquino addressed the attempted coups from 1986 to 1987. She said, "Despite the great losses sustained, I felt no regret that we had completely restored democracy. For I had not been called to power to achieve economic progress at the cost of the ideals of the revolution that swept me into office."

1996: President Fidel V. Ramos

President Ramos' 5th SONA

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On July 22, 1996, President Ramos delivered his fifth SONA where he exclaimed: "Kaya ito ng Pinoy! Kayang-kaya!"

1998: President Joseph Ejercito-Estrada

President Estrada's 1st SONA

President Joseph Ejercito-Estrada promised an escape from the recession by offering a solution: spending wisely and less.

2001: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

President Arroyo's 1st SONA

On July 23, 2001, President Arroyo delivered her speech: "Mga kababayan, magkaisa tayo at magtulung-tulong upang labanan ang salot ng kahirapan at isulong ang kasaganaan, kapayapaan, at katarungan sa bayan. Magkaisa tayo. Labanan ang kahirapan."

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2011: President Benigno Aquino III

President Aquino III's 2nd SONA

President Aquino during the joint senate and house session of congress at the Plenary Hall, House of Representatives Complex, Constitution Hills, Quezon City on July 25, 2011.

2012: President Benigno Aquino III

Third State of the Nation Address of President Benigno S. Aquino III

The scene during President Aquino's third State of the Nation Address.

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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